Let’s get one thing straight.
Sights are all well and good, really good even. But the real reason we travel? Food.
To ensure you get the best fill possible, here are the world’s best hotel buffets for breakfast (and our fave, brunch), so that you, your mate, and that discreet side-pocket of your bag are ready. Game faces and stretchy pants on team.
1. Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
First off, let us introduce to you the concept of ‘endless breakfast’. Don’t believe there is such a thing? Go on, go search the ‘gram. We’ll wait.
You might think the buffet at Kaleidoscope at Atlantis The Palm seems doable at first glance but you’d be wrong. So, wrong. Whether you’re pecking around for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the international buffet, with mountains of fresh fruit, an entire Indian menu, mixed kebabs, assorted mezzeh and even a god-damn pizzeria, is sure to please. They also have a special steak chef and dessert buffet with patisseries and a chocolate fountain.
P.S. Atlantis The Palm also has an adults-only Friday brunch in their other restaurant, Saffron. And yes, that includes drinks and yes we love you guys so just had to tell you.
2. Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai
Known as a symbol of modern Dubai (aka that hotel shaped like a sail), the Burj Al Arab Hotel offer a Friday brunch literally called ‘The Ultimate’ (‘Al Muntaha’). Perched 200 metres above sea level, you’ll enjoy fresh sushi and sashimi, gourmet shawarma, cake by the metre and an interactive ice-cream teppanyaki. It’s definitely on the pricey end but the hotel’s service is unmatched and once again: cake by the metre.
3. Westin Excelsior, Rome
The Westin Excelsior kind of looks like where Super Serious conversations take place in Alfred Hitchcock movies (that, or where Emily Gilmore might hang). Regardless of how you spin it, this buffet is a must. The Sunday brunch offers a live pasta-cooking station, juicing station, extensive dessert buffet and legit opera singers to serenade you and your eggs. Did we mention the dining room overlooks the Via Veneto aka the heart of Rome? Get ready to pinch yourself.
4. Hotel Ritz, Madrid
Just when you thought buffets weren’t already Good Stuff, Hotel Ritz, Madrid have upped the game with a buffet brunch that has to be seen to be believed. The hotel’s Goya Restaurant has a wide selection with a smorgasboard of pastries, cheese, jamon, eggs and even sushi. The meal is accompanied by free-flowing wine and gentle live music, and, if you score a spot, enjoyed on an elegant terrace.
5. Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore, Santa Barbara
This one goes on that lil’ list you have in the back of your notebook rating your many food adventures—other people have that too right? Anyways, the Four Seasons Resort Biltmore has an all day Sunday brunch (the best kind) with an array of seafood, caviar (yes, there’s more than one variety), as well as charcuterie, cheese, carving and Mexican cuisine stations. We want to say, ‘save room for dessert’ but that seems tough so maybe grab a slice on your first round.
6. Hotel Del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton, San Diego
Ever dreamed of a build-your-own-doughnut station? The Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, has got you friend. This historic beachside hotel offers a rather delicious Sunday brunch, the likes of which we’ve never seen. And by that we mean, it has a dedicated Bloody Mary bar. Aside from our favourite tipple, the hotel’s Crown Room brunch has platters of chilled seafood (with lobster guys, lobster!), house made charcuterie, as well as carving and omelette stations. It’s on the higher end of things price wise, but totes worth it (seriously, so much food = so much to ‘gram).
7. Intercontinental Hotel, Downtown, Los Angeles
The Intercontinental Hotel in Downtown LA offers a buffet (via restaurant Dekkadance) for the curious diner thanks to a slew of interactive cooking stations. Chat with chefs and watch the crafting of Mediterranean-style pizzas and paninis before hitting the seafood and carving stations and/or nicking ten or 20 desserts. There are a number of packages available depending on the day and time, but we recommend the Sparkling Weekend Brunch Buffet which, at $75 per person, includes brunch buffet, sparkling wine, sparkling wine mimosas and sparkling wine bellinis.
8. Shangri La-Bosphorus, Istanbul
All those trips to sushi trains around town have finally come to fruition with the Shangri La-Bosphorus’ all-you-can-eat sushi buffet. The hotel’s IST TOO restaurant offer the service in the evenings on both Friday and Saturday, but if you’re more of a breakfast buffet guy or gal, they have this too with Eastern, Western and local delicacies up for grabs.
The best buffet however? Undeniably the Sunday brunch. With sushi, grilled Peking duck, salads, charcuterie, cheeses, baked goods, seafood and a chocolate fountain, it’s one to hit.
9. St. Regis, Maldives
The Maldives is a very pretty place where you’ll probably find yourself in very pretty swimmers a lot but we must say, if you skip the buffet breakfast at the hotel’s Alba restaurant… it’s truly an opportunity missed. Their breakfast features an omelette station, about 200 egg brekkie options (only slight exaggeration), beef ribeye, plus all the staples we’re used to like hash browns, crispy bacon and a brekkie sausage. Thought we were done? Not quite. The Alba also offer luxurious dishes like waffle and duck leg confit and duck foie gras terrines, a variety of smoothies and sweet breakfast list including French toast, buttermilk pancakes and homemade sorbet. Oh, and Bloody Mary’s, Mimosas and straight up Prosecco if you want. St. Regis, if you’re reading this, we’d like to move in.
10. Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
In case you didn’t already feel fancy staying at a hotel that looks like literal royalty, the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi also put on one fancy-pants brunch. We’re talking live cooking stations, BBQ grill, pasta counter, traditional tandoori and shawarma stations, candy bar, ice cream wagon and popcorn cart. Simply sit back in the sun and enjoy your candy, umm, pasta. Yes pasta.
11. La Mamounia, Marrakech
Sunday brunch at La Mamounia in Marrakech is one of those ahhh-mazing buffets that take place outdoors in the glorious, glorious sunshine. The buffet—which includes a glass of Champagne—is not cheap, but 100 per cent worth every penny. Fill a plate or two with breads, tajines, lobster, oysters, salmon and pastries before sitting back in the sun.
P.S. In winter the brunch is replaced with an à la carte menu so be sure to book outside these months if you want to luxuriously stuff your face.
12. Alvear Palace Hotel, Buenos Aires
The buffet lunch at Alvear Palace Hotel may be billed as the gourmand’s place for working lunches and meeting friends but we’ll be honest here, there’s no way we’re not going back for thirds, fourths and fifths so… maybe skip on bringing a client or colleague? Just thinking out loud.
The Alvear Palace Hotel offers an international Sunday brunch buffet replete with seafood ga-effing-lore and some choice desserts.
13. The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas
We have just three words for you: The Wicked Spoon. The resident restaurant for hotel The Cosmopolitan, The Wicked Spoon offers both brunch and dinner buffet with bottomless mimosas for a steal (not literally, it’s actually $17, please don’t get us in trouble). The Wicked Spoon is segmented into salad area, carving station (meatballs, prime rib, bone marrow and more), seafood station as well as areas dedicated Italian and Asian cuisines. Basically, you won’t get lost beelining for the salmon. Did we mention they’ve been patted on the back more than once for a killer dessert offering? Win.
14. Sofitel Bali, Nusa Dua
Good news buffet fans, we’ve saved one of the best brunches for last. The Sofitel Bali’s Cut Catch Cucina Sunday Champagne brunch has very quickly become legendary (they’ve only been open a few years). There are a number of packages on offer including non-alcoholic and premium packages, we recommend the ‘Alcohol Brunch’ which sits somewhere in the middle (around $56 AUD) and comes with sparkling wine, house red and white wine, beer and cocktails. Fill your plate/s with Italian cuisine, salads, sushi and sashimi, meats and a selection of fresh seafood (crab, cray fish, oysters, mussels). The à la carte menu is also available as part of brunch with choices like poached duck egg and pan-seared scallop.
And here’s the real clincher: Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, you’ll get full use of the hotel’s pool after dining.
15. The Grand Hotel, Stockholm
It’s time to loosen that belt notch folks ‘cause we’ve found a literal smorgasbord. The Grand Hotel of Stockholm Sweden understand we like our buffets big and our nosh fancy with their Smogasbord Buffet at Veranda. Seated amongst appropriately grand surroundings (it is The Grand Hotel after all), you’ll enjoy herring, cheese, crisp bread, homemade snaps (vodka), smoked salmon, charcuterie, meatballs and ice-cold punsch. Not too shabby.
16. The Langham, Boston
How does 100+ chocolate desserts sound? Yeah, we know, heavenly AF. The Langham in Boston host this extra special buffet at Café Fleuri every Saturday afternoon, September through June (share a moment of silence for those non-chocolate months). 2018 is a special one with the café celebrating 29 years and a ‘Forever Young’ theme. You’ll score all the chocolate desserts of your youth plus a literal Donut Wall where you can DIY decorate. Happy Birthday! Now where’s the cake?
17. Westin Bund Center, Shanghai
If you thought the term ‘Sunday Brunch’ was something your nan might throw around as she prepped her tea and bikkies you might want to sit down; you’re in for a bit of a shock. The Westin Bund Center in Shanghai throw a Sunday Brunch with DJs, dancers, acrobats and more, putting your thoughts of crocheted snacking to shame. Food stations include Alaskan crab, Canadian lobster, caviar, foie gras and more. So much more. They also have a Kids Club AKA the most beautiful two words we’ve ever seen. Aside from Veuve Clicquot that is (which they also have).
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Image Credit: Liana Mikah